PRINCE Andrew has reportedly “avoided questions from the media” after landing in Australia, amid continued scrutiny about his friendship with dead billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
The Duke of York has kept a low profile since arriving in Perth on Monday to host entrepreneurial events Down Under.
Staying at the luxurious Como The Treasury hotel, the royal has today visited a local university as part of his private work trip.
The programme is aimed at providing international support and development opportunities for early-stage businesses, reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
During previous visits, Prince Andrew has been keen to promote the scheme in the media.
But, AAP says, this time his links to the Epstein scandal have marred his visit amid reports the FBI is expanding its investigation into Epstein.
The disgraced American financier took his own life in August in a New York prison cell where he was detained on charges of sex trafficking teenage girls.
Channel 7 News in Australia said of his visit to Murdoch University: “Prince Andrew has avoided questions from the media in Perth amid controversy surrounding his links with Jeffrey Epstein.”
The broadcaster added that “he hosted the first of two events on Wednesday, but the media was invited only to take photos from a distance as he arrived at Murdoch University.”
Also, the media has been barred from attending the second event on Friday.
[email protected] was launched in 2014 and the Australian arm was launched in 2017.
Since then, 17 events have taken place supporting 108 entrepreneurs from across five states in Australia.
Australian entrepreneur Control Bionics was recently named the winner of [email protected] Commonwealth after creating the ‘NeuroNode’, a wearable, wireless, clinical-grade bionic system for controlling smartphones, computers and robotics with the electrical signals inside a muscle – even if it is disabled.
At today’s university event, Prince Andrew told the audience that the programme was “all about collaboration and improving the opportunities and chances for your business to grow”.
The FBI has recently broadened its probe into the Epstein child sex-trafficking allegations, with reports warning that the royal could become more deeply engulfed in the scandal.
The US law enforcement agency’s investigation has been expanded to identify more alleged human trafficking victims of Epstein, who could provide information on the Duke.
The Sunday Times has reported the FBI expects to interview 100 alleged trafficking victims — most of whom were aged between 14 and 15 when allegedly trafficked.
This will take place over the next two months and Scotland Yard is ready to help.
Citing unidentified sources from the US Department of Justice, the paper says the FBI are looking to “several” potential victims.
Investigators hope they can provide more details about Prince Andrew and his links to the Epstein case.
The source said: “They are not going to dismiss it [claims relating to Andrew] because he is a royal.”
The report quotes former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, Dai Davies, saying a full investigation would be in the Duke’s best interests.
Mr Davies said: “I would have thought it’s in Prince Andrew’s interests to clear this matter up.
“Any residue of doubt or innuendo should be cleared up by a clear, unequivocal, structured investigation.”
Scotland Yard previously held an investigation after one woman caught up in the scandal, Virginia Roberts – now Virginia Giuffre – made allegations against Prince Andrew, but that probe was dropped in 2015. This is now being reviewed by the FBI.
Prince Andrew has denied all allegations against him, saying they are “without foundation”.
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Her allegations were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent”.
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